Future Of Northern Bush Radio Still In Limbo

Monday, October 06, 2008 at 13:57



Uncertainty over the future of the Northern Radio Telephone Service is playing havoc with the lives of some northerners.


This Friday was supposed to be the last day for the switching station in La Ronge — which currently allows users to connect to the main telephone network.


However, the CRTC still hasn’t given SaskTel the green light to close the station.


The situation is causing headaches for the station’s workers, who were expecting to be let go.


SaskTel has stated it won’t make a decision until after the federal election is over.


Local employee Ron Warner isn’t sure if there will be enough trained personnel available then, because some of have already signed retirement papers or have made plans to find work elsewhere — including outside the community.


A petition with 987 names on it was recently sent to the CRTC in an effort to keep the station open.


Warner notes SaskTel has said only 75 people will be affected by the closure.


However, he says the company is failing to remember the many family members who use that service to keep in touch with trappers on trap lines.


Warner estimates some trappers spend a half-hour a day talking to family members through the switching station.


He says he is not sure how they will keep doing that in the future if they are forced to pay a $1.50 a minute on a satellite phone.